Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
The Romance of Old Barclay by Clarke
Chapter Twelve - Old Families in Barclay
The Romance of Old Barclay

By Staley N. Clarke

Originally Published 1928, Towanda PA

Photos by Joyce M. Tice October 4, 1998
Retyped for Tri-Counties by Richard Harris and Connie Unganst and Formatted by Joyce M. Tice

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[Page 16]



A study of the history of Old Barclay reveals many familiar names, showing that many of the residents of the deserted village or their descendants still live in Bradford county and vicinity. From time to time requests have come to collect as many as possible of the names of former inhabitants of the township. An effort to do that has been made and the result will be shown in this chapter. Daniel Webster of Towanda proved the greatest help along this line, he having unearthed one of the old paymaster’s books used at Barclay. In it were found names of dozens of miners. Others who have helped to a great extent are William Strope and Mrs. Anna Sheehan of Towanda. Besides those mentioned there have been scores of others who have added a few names and incidents.

A number of men who later became leaders in their chosen fields of endeavor, some of them gaining even national prominence, once resided on Barclay mountain. It is claimed by some, among them Malcolm Macfarlane, a descendant of Supt. James Macfarlane previously mentioned in this history, that Hon. William B. Wilson, Secretary of Labor in President Wilson’s Cabinet, once lived at Barclay. If so, he is probably the village’s most distinguished son.

Another who has gained great prominence is George N. Tidd, president of the American Gas & Electric Company, one of the biggest corporations of the kind in America. Soon after the first installment of "The Romance of Old Barclay" appeared in The Daily Review, a letter was received from him in which he said:

"I am very much interested in these articles owing to the fact that I was born in Barclay and lived there the first ten years of my life and have very vivid recollections of the community. The map published brings back many recollections of attending Sunday School in the old Presbyterian Church, the occasional travelling theater in the I. O. O. F. hall, the little school house on the hill where I attended school; the snow and the fine sledding down the old mountain in the winter time, and the beautiful drives in the autumn."

Judge Cameron of Wellsboro, at one time one of the best known judges in the state, came from Barclay, as did also Dr. Clinton Scott of Brookville, Jefferson county. The latter is a brother of Mrs. John Pennepacker of Towanda. Their father was William Scott who conducted the company store when Macfarlane was superintendent. He was also Sunday School superintendent at one time.

An amusing story concerning Dr. Scott’s boyhood deals with the time when at the age of 14 he became obsessed with the desire to work in the mines. Continued begging finally obtained his parents’ consent. His father provided him with a new suit of overalls and everything was ready for the big event of going to work with the men. A hitch arose, however. The boy noticed that the men had patches on their overalls and he would not leave the house in his until his mother had sewed numerous patches, hit and miss, all over the new material.

One of the well remembered "characters" at Barclay was Mrs. Tom Corbett. She had a ready wit and was never at a loss for words with which to express herself. The remarks she made on various occasions are remembered to this day and told over and over again by those who knew her. One particular instance is remembered distinctly. She bought some matches and took them home. A short time later she returned to the store, declaring them no good. The store keeper, as many men do, raised his leg and struck one of the matches on his trousers. It immediately lighted and he told Mrs. Corbett she must be mistaken.

"That’s all right," she snapped, "but you needn’t think I’m coming over here to scratch them on your pants every time I want a light."

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad for which John Coolidge, son of the President, has recently gone to work, has as one of its superintendents a former resident of "Old Barclay" in the person of J. W. Cuineen. In writing from his office at Danbury, Conn., Mr. Cuineen says:

"I am particularly interested in this ‘once famous, now deserted village.’ I had the pleasure of being employed in the Superintendent’s office of the ‘Old Barclay Railroad’ under Mr. F. F. Lyon, Superintendent, as telegraph operator, clerk, and incidentally assisted the Weigh Master in weighing the coal coming from the various mines during the years of 1884 and 1885, leaving there about April, 1885, and have never visited the place since that period.

"The opening edition, however, has brought back clearly to my memory the ‘thriving mining village’ and some of the names mentioned are familiar. I assure you therefore, that I will be very much interested in the future and closing issues."

W. A. Deegan, secretary-treasurer of the Hyde-Murphy Company of Ridgway, Pa., a large manufacturing concern, is another former resident who still has a warm spot in his heart for Barclay. He writes: "I am greatly interested in the Romance of Old Barclay. My father, Jerry Deegan, came to Barclay as near as I can figure, in about 1880, remaining for possibly four or five years. We then moved to Long Valley where we were raised and where he remained until the coal was exhausted there and the place shut down, so you can readily see why I would be much interested in this matter."

Mrs. D. O. Clark of Towanda is a daughter of Dr. Joseph Stevenson, at one time physician at Barclay.

Two sons of Mrs. John Barrett, once a Barclay resident, became priests.

Among the blacksmiths at Barclay will be remembered Jim Reynolds, Will Deegan, Gottlieb Essenwine, and Charles Batterson. Loren Johnson was a blacksmith at Foot of Plane. Dick Law at one time was in the office on the mountain, as was also Frank Cole.

Dan Powers will be remembered by many because he had a boy by the name of "Natey" working with him in the mines. A fall of rock or coal killed the lad when he was only 13 years old.

Other familiar names are included in a letter from Mrs. Mazie Steele of Union, N. Y., R. D. 1, who has taken a great interest in this series of articles. She has sent several pictures, among them a photograph of the old Barclay "chutes" which she says her father, Charles D. Northrup, and his brother, Robert, constructed. Mrs. Steele lived at Barclay when a small child and again later after she was married. Her husband, she writes, was foreman for Murary [Murray?] Harris. Most of the inhabitants at that time worked at Long Valley. John Preston owned the meat market and Joe Foyle worked for him. Fay Lewis was in charge of the store. Isaaiah [Isaiah?] Anderson and Melford Bailey ran beer wagons from LeRoy once a week.

Mrs. Sadie Vandermark Larrabee of 118 Herrick St., Athens, writes that her father, John Vandermark, was born at Fall Creek and she was born at Long Valley. She also lived at Sand Run, Barclay and Carbon Run.

Henry Bentley was supervisor on the railroad from Towanda to Barclay, including the plane. At that time Orson Peterson was foreman of the plane. Henry Schultz was foreman under Bentley and is still foreman for the S. & N. Y. Others who worked about that time were Steve Perry and Willard Cox. Between 1860 and 1870 Rice Bullock was section foreman on the plane and railroad at the Head. He lived in the "Half Way" house and kept a number of boarders.

A. W. Randall of 106 W. Chemung street, Waverly, lived at Barclay five or six years. He lived with Dr. Hillis and Dr. Cheney and went to school there. He also worked in the store at Foot of Plane for Moses & Levy and delivered goods at Barclay and Carbon Run. He is a half brother of Levi Covey who was killed in the saw mill.

J. R. Hampson of Anita, Pa., has been much interested in the Barclay history because he writes: "I was born there July 23, 1876, or over 52 years ago when Barclay was a real town."

Two others who were born there and have shown much interest, are M. J. Burns of 87 S. Hillside avenue, Bradford, Pa., and James W. Duggan, of 156 Pleasant street, the same city.

Wirt R. Dimock of Owego [Oswego?], N. Y., [Page 17] was another quick to respond when the name of Barclay was mentioned. He was station agent, operator and postmaster at Foot of Plane from June 1, 1875, until April 1, 1882. He writes: "I was working at the station in Towanda when the Erie railroad leased the road and mines."

Hiram Rockwell recalls that he worked under three superintendents, F. F. Lyons [Lyon?], R. T. Dodson and Eli Griggs. He lived at Barclay eleven years. His brother, King Rockwell, also lived there as did three of his brothers-in-law, Charles Sickler, Cyrus Dunn and Dite Havens.

Among the people once living at Foot of Plane were the following:

Ted Eldred, Jim Reynolds, Jim Stalford, Henry Powers, George Powers, Will Powers, Ira Powers, John Schoonover, Marshall McCraney, Ed Barrett, Tom Barrett, George Blakesley, George Archer, Henry Blend, William Fuller, Tom Deegan, Sidney West, Jack Drislane, Jerry Peet, Lon Mott, Jimmy Lynch, W. R. Goodnough, Brit Pittinger, Frank Eldred, A. L. Stone, Raymond West, William Strope, Henry Strope, Robert Strope, Glenn Strope, Henry Bailey, Loren Johnson, Jack Warwick, Charles E. Drake, Frank Birdsall, Royal Pruyne, Charles Northrup, Jim Shedden, Jim Bowers, Frank Shedden, William Campbell, William Blend, George Blend, Steve Blend, and Charles Blend, Jake Brown, Fred Camp, Sid French and Milt Hoffert.

Among those at Long Valley were Edward Macfarlane, superintendent, William Meehan in the company store, Joe DeLong, Jerry O’Keefe, Mrs. U. G. Baker, George Bennett, Mrs. Frank Birdsdale, James Boyce, Thomas Boyce, Mrs. William Breen, Mrs. C. V. Callahan, Patrick Callaman, Thos Carmody, Anna Carroll, Bridget Carroll, Charles Carroll, Mrs. Dennis Carroll, Frank Carroll, John Carroll, Mrs. Thomas Coleman, Mrs. Emma Crawford, Mrs. Nellie Crawford, Frank Crane, Jerry Deegan, Gomar Duggan, John Fitzgerald, Mrs. Joseph Ging, nee Mollie Stapleton, George Herda, Mrs. William Johnson, nee Ditchburn, Mrs. William E. Lane, James Looney, Mary Looney, B. J. Lynch, William Meehan, James McNulty, John McNulty, Isaac Naylor, Benjamin O’Keefe, Mac Phinney, Mrs. Laura Raub, nee Travis, John, James and Joseph Sheridan, Thomas Scully, Patrick Scully, Daniel Webster, Mrs. Daniel Webster, Garvin Wilson, nee Spence, and Susie Walton (Read).

From the old pay roll book of the Towanda Coal Co., now in the possession of Daniel Webster of Towanda, the following names of men and boys who worked on Barclay mountain as miners, teamsters, door tenders and water boys, have been secured. Look them over and see how many you recognize.

William Sullivan, James Duncan, James Beveridge, William Dawson, Thomas Hewitt, James Duggan, Jr., John McMahon, Charles Strange, John Mathewson, David E. Phillips, John Rice, Mathew Batison, David Forrest, Thomas Rice, Thomas Webster, Michael Touhey, Thomas Touhey, Joseph Little.

John Finleyson, Robert Finleyson, Charles Johnson, Thomas Johnson, Jr., James Strange, Andrew Holmes, Stillman Turnbull, William Killock, Edward Gallagher, Alex Huggan, Alex Barclay, Hugh Hay, James Barclay, Thomas Walker, John Adams, Richard Woodward, Thomas Davis, William Killock, 2nd., Mark Mathews, John Battle, James Schofield, D. A. Webster, Peter Shields, John Quinlan.

William Simmons, John H. Davis, John Hunter, Alex Hunter, George Beveridge, James Drysdale, Robert Drysdale, James McPherson, John Hyndman, Alex McKenzie, Robert Walker, John Wilson, Daniel Mathewson, David E. Phillips, William H. Hook, Thomas E. Morgan, James Ditchburn, John Ditchburn, William Ditchburn, Thomas J. Burke, Daniel Gallagher, Thomas Wooley, Jacob Duggan, Arthur McCourt, William Lyle, John Wilson.

Frank Croply, Thomas Scott, Andrew Beveridge, Morris Strange, Samuel Hart, Charles Dunbar, Richard Mullihan, John H. Hawkins, D. W. Thomas, James Crawford, James Wheatley, Michael Mansell, John Carroll, Michael Clarey, Thomas Dobbins, Pat Shay, Daniel Scanlan, Pat McVey, William Hughes, Pat O’Brien, Bernard Finn, Patrick Shevlin, Richard Driscoll, Edward Shell, Andrew Killiher, James Glynn, Martin Roach, John Harding, Thomas Fitzpatrick, James Jordan, Pat Shean, Hugh McKinney, John Comisky, John Welsh, John Kelly, Patrick Lang, Alex Simpson, Michael Daugherty, Michael Gorman, Patrick Hennessy, Richard Moony, Andrew Simpson, Andrew Campbell, Owen Duggan, James Connolly, Peter Cullinan, James Sheridan, John Conlon, Charles Malia, David Haley, Simon McDonald, Charles Connahan

Charles Connahan, Michael Scollins, Patrick Rafferty, Bat McCuddy, Stephen Murphy, Edward Gratton, Tim McAndrews, John Sweeney, Martin Lynch, Josiah Denton, John McAndrew, James Boyce, Michael Brown, Allen Frazier, John Johnson, Michael Stapleton, James Devine, George Turnbull, James McDonald, Lawrence Collins, Daniel Collins, James Driscoll, William Curren, Martin Higgins, Harry Reagan, Michael Doyle.

Solomon Burns, Thomas Connell, David O’Herron, John North, Michael Lynch, James Gill, Garret Keating, Ed McCabe, Austin Quinlan, Michael Welsh, James Keefe, Peter Doyle, David Littlejohn, Daniel Lynch, Ed McGroty, Thomas Farrell, Michael Murray, Pat Glynn, Patrick White, John Towns, Thomas Collins, Michal Reagan, Thomas Leonard, James Gillighen, Daniel White, John Cook, Pat Sheridan, Pat Nagle, Pat McCole, Michael Degnan, William Ryan, Michael Claynon, Andrew Nowlan, Thomas Gaffey, James Gannon.

Bert McGee, Peter McNulty, Michael Boland, William McDonald, Terrence Clune, Austin Flannigan, Peter Hannihan, Thomas Tigue, Michael McMahon, John Donnolly, Bat Higgins, William Perdue, Thomas Cantwell, John Curren, Phillip Fogerty, Ed Barrett, John Cummisky, James Cummisky, Thomas Killiher, John Vailey.

Bernard Gratton, James Adamson, Thomas Donnolly, Thomas E. Lynch, John McEvinew, James Kinney, Dennis O’Donnivan, Thomas Carmody, Pat Kinney, Michael Cowley, John McGrew, Andrew Core, Thomas Kelley, Thomas Minto, John Hawkins, James McDermot, Pat Adams, Dennis Sweeney, C. P. Moore, E. A. Thompson, David Ditchburn, John Fitzharris, Michael Maddigan, Thomas Shell, Robert Polly, John Rafferty, William Passmore, Morris Gahan, Michael Hough.

James Berrigan, Alex Cane, Thomas Cox, John Scanlan, Daniel Fogerty, James Dalton, Lawrence Hess, Pat Carroll, John Gahan, James Ward, Redmond Roach, Jr., Benjamin Keefe, Nicholas Conners, Mike Sullivan, Dave Donnivan, James McDonald, Matt Mannix, John Pyne, N. De Montigney, John Killiher, John Brown, Thomas Leonard, James Larkin, Elias Allen, John Hayburn, John Howard, Martin Hill, Michael Donlon.

Con Sullivan, Larry Butler, Pat Callanan, P. J. Carroll, Pat Finney, Chris McCormick, Thomas Henderson, John Grigg, Archie Cook, Joseph Davis, James Hough, Barney Touhey, James Walker, William Dayton, J. J. Killock, Thomas Davison, George Holmes, Dennis L. Keefe, Pat Hall, G. D. Smith, Robert Brown.

Simon McMahon, Stephen Brown, August Hurdy, Henry Billman, Michael Falsey, Edward Prince, Thomas Gaffey, Jr., William Finn, William Crane, William Fassett, I. O. Blight, Adam Millhime, David Nalon, Michael Leonard, Michael Callahan.

John Morrison, Adam Ebert, David Sabins, John Murphy, James Grigg, James O’Neal, H. W. McCraney, William McCormick, A. B. Vancise, Fred Leavenworth, Albert Wilmot, E. J. Eldred, Charles Green, Edward Wheatley, Andrew Crane, George Talladay, Henry Thurston, Lyman Rockwell, Joseph Rockwell, William Northrup, J. S. Taylor, Lewis Thurston, Samuel Schrader, John Williams, James Pelton.

Theodore Green, Charles McFadden, Morris Gorman, Jeremiah Splan, A. Harrington, Michael Anderson, Morgan Pelton, James L. Worrall, Brad McCracken, W. J. Hillis, Daniel Webster, Jacob Scrubett.


Among those present at the reunion held at the picnic grounds on Barclay mountain on August 15, 1928, were the following:

Mr. And Mrs. Lester Williams and [Page 18] Mrs. John Williams of Franklindale; Mr. And Mrs. Dick Bennett and Betty Jane Bennett of Towanda; Mrs. Loren Johnson of Masten; Mr. And Mrs. Reemer Feister, Reemer Merrill Feister, and Lola May Feister of Laquin; John F. Slavin, Thomas Slavin, Genevieve Slavin and Mrs. Mary Middaugh of Elmira; Robert Rogers, George Rogers, Jr., and John A. Sardo, Jr., of Elmira; Carl Pelton of Sand Run; Helen Carroll of Towanda; Joseph Deegan of Mildred; Leona McDermott of Wilkes-Barre; Hughie Davis of Sayre; Mrs. Mary Mead, R. W. Jones and Milton Jones of Forty Fort, Pa.; W. M. Williams of Wilkes-Barre; Ed Stephenson of West Franklin; Marian Evans, Anna Evans, Archie Evans and Patrick Drugan of Wilkes-Barre; Mr. And Mrs. Lloyd Allen, Ruth Allen, Bessie Fairbanks, and Allen Fairbanks, of West Franklin; Dr. R. L. Bevan of LeRoy; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Pelton and Duane Pelton of Canton; Joseph Pelton and Mildred Pelton of Sand Run; Mr. and Mrs. Daymond Covey of Laquin; Mr. and Mrs. John Smith and Henry and John, Jr., of LeRoy; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Smith of Laquin; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Holcombe of LeRoy; George VanLoven of Laquin; Fred Cameron of Arnold, Pa.; Mr. and Mrs. Martin Lynch of Mildred; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Murray, Charles, John and Ann Murray of Wilkes-Barre; Mr. and Mrs. William Meehan and Alice Meehan, of Mildred, Pa.; Mr. and Mrs. Miles Burns and Helen and Ralph Burns of Wilkes-Barre; Mr. and Mrs. James Shedden, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Shedden, Gertrude Shedden, Lisle Shedden, and Mrs. Charles McCraney, of LeRoy; William Creighton, Albert, Arthur, Blanche, Adeline, William Jr., and Jennie Creighton of West Franklin; Kenneth Palmer of West Franklin; Mr. and Mrs. I. W. Anderson of Sayles; Mr. and Mrs. James Crawford, Lisle, Ellen, Millicent and Robert Crawford of Laquin; Mrs. M. Joseph Cronin and James Cronin of Elmira; Mrs William Trudeau, Joseph, Catherine and William Trudeau of Newberry, Pa.; Mrs. Florence Crayton of Williamsport; Stanley Mahonske of Blossburg; Veronica Kinney and Mrs. Margaret Kinney of Arnot, Pa.; Bernice Collins of Virginia; Sam High of Watsontown; George Herda of Franklindale; Rodney Williams of Franklindale; William Payne, L. D. Luther and Albert Schrader of Monroeton; Frank Morse of Franklindale, Evans Esaias of Laquin; Donald Pelton of Sand Run; James Boise of Sayre and the refuge keepers, Mr. and Mrs. George Rider of Sunfish Pond.
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